Thursday, August 28, 2008

Gearing up

Had to share a couple photos of this old veteran. This was ridden from Colorado all the way up to Gillette Wyo. to the National MOA Rally. This design has been copied by the thousands in Russia and China. Not a one of them has even come close to replicate the workmanship and precision of the German made machines. The copies only mimic the look, not the bike itself.
Hard tail rear suspension must be tough on the back. Don't think I'd go too far. Nice big seat springs though, maybe the ride isn't that bad. Never did get to visit with the rider of this machine.
I guess Harley's aren't the only bikes that leak. The big white mess is "floor dry". Not sure what happened there but I am sure there is a story behind it.
I never got the point of this trailers' design. Looks like one of those rocket Popsicles. The butt end of the thing opened up to access the guts of the storage area. Aerodynamic I bet. It definitely got a lot of attention. Mixed reviews I imagine.
We are gearing up for a + - 600 mile weekend ride with the sidehack. We'll go south to Idaho, then east over to the Grand Teton area. Reserved a tent site right next to the Snake River for Sat. night. We'll go through the Teton National Park on Sunday, then through Yellowstone Park. The weather forecast looks good, although the nights will be a bit chilly. I rented a little cabin for Sunday night over in West Yellowstone. Darian will appreciate the warmth and a soft bed for one of the nights. The low temps. in West Yellowstone have been down in the 30's this week. Gotta go, need to rise at 4:30 AM tomorrow..........
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Alder in August

Ended up working until midnight on Friday night to get caught up with paper work. Darian headed out for Billings around noon. I worked on the bike all day Saturday and then headed out for Alder MT. to visit friends. Our friends place is somewhat of a social gathering spot for a lot of the locals. The sidecar was used to give a few rides for those who wanted. One fella (at least 250lbs.) said he always wanted to ride in a hack so away we went. My lean out was a bit off with his weight added. The night was fun and everyone sat around the fire and drank some beer. The host went out early so his wife and I visited most of the night. We were the last ones' at the fire.
This is Rhondas' infamous whippen post. You don't mess with her or you'll end up right here! Our friends have a neat little two room cabin which they have fixed up real nice. Mikes' only regret was that he didn't slope the oak flooring to a floor drain to handle any beer spills and clean up. They just had some beautiful stone work done in the cabin, with an old cow skull integrated into it. Wish I would have taken some photos. Real cool cabin.
I worked on the old bike all day saturday. Installed an old "Hella" (replica) tail light I found on E-Bay. The light was new, but many years old. The rubber gasket seal was rotten so had to improvise. I rewired the light and got it mounted. The old R75 light I previously mounted self destructed last weekend on our ride to Butte. The housing cracked and it split into a bunch of pieces. I zip tied / taped it together to get home last weekend. That was the 4th time my light mounting went to pieces so this new fender mount light should be non maintenance. Will need to paint it at some point. I rewired every thing so the fender will swivel up to get to the tire if needed.
I went to replace the R75 ignition points Saturday as they are ten years old. The points looked very good still so I just readjusted them and left them alone. I'll carry the spares with me. Also got a new clutch cable to carry as a spare. I pulled both carb diaphragms out to check them and they were both o.k. I was having a little high end miss so thought maybe a diaphragm was bad. Upon getting home I pulled the air filter and found it pretty dirty so changed it. Hopefully that will help. Planning on a ride to Grand Teton Park next weekend. Darian got stung twice by a wasp in Billings this weekend and ended up at the emergency room as she was having some sort of a reaction to the stings. She is not home yet (9:35pm) so hope all is well. She left Billings a lot later than usual as she normally doesn't like to drive at night.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 18, 2008

Back to Butte

Expecting to be a tough week coming up at work so decided we had better take a little ride / camping trip again. We lazed around Saturday morning and took off for Butte around 10:30 or so. This time we took the back way over through Twin Bridges, Silver Star and then over Pipestone Pass. It has been quite a few years since we had taken this route and the scenery was nice. Great slow paced sidecar road with minimal traffic. I recently purchased a Nelson "Rigg Pak" rear motorcycle trunk via E-Bay for $60.00. Very nice quality bag (retails for $200.00) and is perfect for the Hacks' Rack. Expandable end pockets , a couple front pockets, and a rear storage pouch. Also has an additional rain cover. Has buckles which fasten it to the rack. Above; near the summit at Pipestone Pass.
The trunk is meant for a Honda Goldwing but is perfect for what I was looking for. And the price was definitely right. Darian in her normal position, blanket in place, book in hand. We took our time getting to Butte and stopped for a late Dennys' breakfast. Then over to the KOA to set up our tent. We rode around town a bit and looked for a friends place. ( We finally found him on Sunday morning). We headed to our tent soon after dark and watched a DVD movie which we brought with us. Slept in a bit on Sunday and finally crawled out around 8:00am. We relaxed with our am coffee and tore down the camp in 30 minutes or so. Wandered around Butte looking for our friend and finally found his place around noon.
We hadn't seen our friend , Otha, for a couple years and it was nice to see him again. About the time we were leaving I noticed that my tail light housing was split wide open, nearly ready to fall apart. Whether someone bumped it our the vibration finally destroyed it I'll never know. I zip tied it, screwed it and electrical taped it together to get us home. Luckily, (since the tail light has been a pain in the ass from the start) I won a NOS reproduction "Hella" early 1950's BMW tail light on E-Bay last week for $50.00. The light and housing will mount directly to the fender and finally do away with my own crappy designed bracket, which has self destructed a couple of times already in 5000 miles. I also have some tune up stuff coming, a TwinMax Carb. Synchro meter which will allow me to properly synchro. the carbs. Also found a mini air compressor for the bike, a new spare clutch cable and a pair of carb rebuild kits. I am experiencing some higher RPM stumbling so figure either the points are shot ( 8 years old) or a carb. diaphragm is going bad. We'll see when I tear into it. We hope to do another 500 - 600 mile trip over the Labor Day weekend. Maybe over into Idaho and then Grand Teton area. we'll see. Rescued a Harley guy yesterday pushing an 883 Sportster down the freeway near Dillon. We stopped and he was out of gas, he still had a mile or two to push into Dillon. The Heinrich tank spared him a water bottle full of fuel to get him into Dillon. I filled on Saturday and made the whole trip without hitting reserve. Glad I got the extra fuel capacity. A work week from hell is developing so we'll be ready for a long ride in a couple of weeks.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

More Jupiter Side Car Examples

This car is a beauty. Obviously the owner has paid attention to details. He had the rig for sale last spring for $2800.00. Looks like it would have been worth it. I'm more on a budget minded project so that amount would be out of the question. I am a perpetual scrounger.
This very nice Jupiter belongs to a friend and fellow Airhead in Kalispell MT. He described it to me as being pretty "rough". I will have to disagree as it looks pretty darn nice from this vantage point. John had some great stories about his sidecar adventures. " John, just remember to always take duct tape!"
This is an acquaintance of mine, Greg Frazer, he has traveled around the world via motorcycle 4 (or is it 5) times? A great guy with a million great stories. This Jupiter was in Cuba where I believe he rented the rig and had to take the guy he rented it from with him.
Another original period Jupiter shot with a 2 stroke "something" attached to it. Eastern European bike I believe.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Mud , Sweat and Tears.

Working in the mud kind of sucks. Over the years I have been faced with some of the most miserable conditions possible. I worked on gravel crushers early on and spent many frozen days/nights out in the elements. Typically we would work even down to -20 degrees. The boss would attempt to get the crusher going in the frozen conditions. Steel behaves strangely at those temperatures and normally we would break a bunch of things trying to get the equipment running. We then would spend hours fixing everything we broke and still not get going. I've seen 4" power cables which were froze into 6"-8" of ice. Spent hours with an ax trying to free the cables from the ice prison. As a grunt laborer I would spend hours squirming into the screening plant and beat the frozen dirt and rocks out of the plugged screens. One time they didn't tell the operator I was in there and they started up the crusher. I barely escaped with my life on that one. If I had been a second slower I would not have made it out. Being beat to death/ chewed up in a screening plant would not be a good way to go.
I was helping on an asphalt plant once and we were attempting to get the hot asphalt pump going. The oil was stiff in the lines but in the tank it was at 400-500 degrees. We had been hovering over the pump for quite a while trying to get it going. As soon as we crawled down off the tank where the pump was the main feed line came apart and the 500 degree oil was spraying every where. None of us (luckily) got hit by the hot oil but it was very close.
Another crusher instance found me attempting to chain up 5' to 6' boulders which were stuck in a jaw crusher. After fishing a chain around the rock a large loader would come up and pick the rock out of the crusher chute. This platform was 15 feet or so above ground. I would always step back as the rock was picked up, but on the exposed platform there was no place really safe. A chain snapped as a rock was picked and the pin that holds the hook to the chain shot off like a bullet, just grazing my neck. Had it hit me straight on it would have been like a 45 caliber bullet hitting me. The hot steel shrapnel went down my coveralls and found its' way out my pant leg. We were 100 miles from a hospital so help was not close.
I have been fortunate to have been working the past 20 years with people that have more focus on safety. Construction is inherently dangerous but the risks can be minimized by proper knowledge and techniques. Entry level young people are very much at risk as are old school workers who have developed bad habits and run out of luck. One such friend of mine was gravely injured a few years ago just before retiring. He was the kind of guy who thought that "it won't happen to me" but he performed an improper dangerous task he had done numerous times before and it got him. He is now wheel chair bound for the rest of his life. A young son of another friend lost his life a few years ago due to a lack of knowledge of proper techniques when working high above ground. All it takes is just one wrong move or lapse of good judgement.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Adios Don

A close friend and mentor of mine passed on to better places last week. Don Masters was a one of a kind fellow and they definitely broke the mold after his creation. I spent 4 construction seasons working with Don and I learned a life time of lessons in those few years. He appeared to many as a gruff and tough man who spoke his mind whether you wanted to hear it or not. In reality Don was a soft hearted gracious person who looked after all those under his watch, as long as your work ethic was acceptable. Don disliked lazy people with a passion and "deadbeats" (as he put it) didn't fair well or long with him. My 2ND work season with Don was marred by his initial battle with cancer. He came to work every day, having chemotherapy on Friday afternoon, sick all weekend and then back to work on Monday. Don always laughed because the company we worked for thought he was a goner (16 years ago) and went as far to clean out his pickup when he went in to have his cancerous bladder removed. "I'll show those assholes " he said. And he did. He went on for another 15 years before he finally threw in the towel. I'm sure he was tired and said to hell with it, enough is enough.
One time I was with Don in West Yellowstone MT. on a project. We had driven up to a road construction site and the Flagger girl took one look at Don and came through the window hugging and kissing at him like he was a long lost Dad. She greeted him and was so glad to see him. After we drove on I asked him what the hell that was all about? A few years before Don was driving by a competing companies office and saw a long line of people waiting interviews for 4 Flagging job openings they had advertised in the paper. At the end of the line was a cute young gal who was crying and very sad. Don stopped and asked her what was the matter? She said she was a single mom and needed this job so bad, but with all the people ahead of her she had little or no chance. Don told her "get in the truck". She did and Don hauled her out to the competing companies job site, handed her a flagging vest and a hard hat and told her to report to the supervisor. She did and they put her to work thinking the office had sent her. By the end of the day they figured out what had happened but she they figured if she wanted the job that bad, they would keep her on. 3 years later and she was still working....
The first day on another big project I was the number 1 man under Don. He told me " We are going to have a lot of fun this summer, You may wish you had never been born, but you will have fun." Some of Dons' favorite sayings: "What R you assholes doing?", " I am surrounded by assholes". " I am the only guy who can reach into a barrel full of pussies and still pull out an asshole."

Don expected 110% from everyone under his watch, in return you were rewarded with a lot of hours of work
(too many usually), respect, and a work environment which was full of mostly elite co workers who were the best of the best. Don found Humor in every situation no matter how miserable. Working 80,-100 hours a week was not uncommon during the heat of the season. Don told us we could eat and sleep in the winter cause summer was the time to work. There are not too many of the old school Superintendents around anymore. Definitely a dying breed. I will never forget Don and I tell stories of his escapades all the time. All of us who worked with and for him are a kind of Veteran, as you can't really explain it unless you experienced it. Adios Don, You left impressions (and scars ) on many folks who thought highly of you.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Big Butte Hole

Last weekend looked like a great weather forecast so we couldn't resist the chance for a little ride. I took care of some work business in the AM while Darian did some stuff around the house. We hit the road at noon or so and took all the back roads from Dillon over to Butte. Had some nice relaxing miles and used the frontage road so as to not be rushed by the interstate traffic. We looked for an old friend around Butte but he shut his phone down so could not find him.

We wandered around Butte and had a nice Breakfast (@ 2:00) and decided to get a camping spot as rain was threatening. We hunkered down at a pub while the rain storms hit and tarped over the sidecar to keep our gear dry. We hit the KOA campground along with another hoard of bikers. Most appeared to be heading for Sturgis I imagine. This is a nice view of the Butte "Pit" from our camp site on Sunday morning.
Another town view from the campsite. Had a nice evening once all the storms passed. Very damp evening and all was wet in the AM. Spent a bit of time looking for our friend around Butte but had no luck. Headed out of Butte after a breakfast and decided to head back the same way we went over. We stopped at Rocker for a few minutes and saw a lot of Hells Angels Riders fueling up. I wanted to take some photos of them but decided against it. From the looks of some of those fellows I didn't think they would appreciate having their photos taken. They looked like a pretty tough bunch. It was refreshing to see some "real" bikers for a change instead of the typical yuppie bikers we usually see on the road. I think there was a Hells Angels' Rally over in Missoula the previous week so they were moving over to the Sturgis Rally I imagine.
We just had to stop at the Melstone Bar as it was time for a couple of Bloody Mary's for after breakfast. The Bar Keep definitely knew how to make them and after two I was good to go. Darian even had one, which is rare for her. I caught her in an unprepared moment in this photo, messing with her tethered earplugs or something. We had an uneventful ride to Dillon and stopped for one more cold beer (for me) before heading home. Great ride and a great weekend!
Posted by Picasa

Gila Mtns.

Gila Mtns.